At the beginning of what might well be her last full day in the Trump administration, the morning after she used her RNC speech to thank the president for “empowering” women like her, Kellyanne Conway went out with a bang on the White House lawn by doing what she does best: Attacking the media.
The outgoing White House counselor was talking about the “unfortunate” violence in American cities and the need for “law and order” when CNN reporter Joe Johns asked, “Is the president calling on his supporters in Kenosha, people like Kyle Rittenhouse, to stop the violence?”
Johns was referring to the 17-year-old vigilante who was charged with murder for coming into Kenosha, Wisconsin, from out of state to gun down protesters. Rittenhouse was spotted in the front row of a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, in January, and expressed support for the “Blue Lives Matter” movement on social media.
“The president wants everybody to stop the violence,” Conway said in response. “And I know you’re trying to conflate that individual with President Trump and you really shouldn’t do that. Just like CNN shouldn’t have had a chyron last night that said ‘mostly peaceful protests’ with fire in the background. So, that’s pretty offensive, Joe.”
When Johns continued to press Conway on “vigilantes” who “are supporters of the president,” Conway interrupted: “Why are you talking about who they may vote for? Why are you trying to incite more trouble?”
She then attempted to pivot away from right-wing violence and towards a more rare example of violence coming from the other side. “Should we talk about the lunatic who shot up Steve Scalise and a bunch of other members of Congress and staffers three years ago this past June?” Conway suggested.
“Or the guy who drove through the crowd in Charlottesville?” Johns offered, highlighted another example of white supremacist terror.
“Well, you’ve talked about that plenty, but I don’t ever hear you mentioning the other guy,” Conway shot back. “In other words, are we going to this game where we look at who somebody supports or what color hat they wear to a rally and somehow make us all responsible?”
Then came one of her classic threats: “Because I can do that. I can talk about lots of people who have been guests on CNN, imbued with credibility.”
Refusing to take the bait, Johns finally said, “It would be pretty easy to say, ‘Hey, I don’t want my supporters participating in violence.’”
“He doesn’t want anybody participating in violence!” Conway exclaimed. “That’s why he is calling for law and order, respecting the police, saying we’re not going to defund the police ever.”
At that point, PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor jumped in to ask Conway if President Trump has talked to the family of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back by Kenosha police on Sunday, setting off the protests in the city.
“I’m not aware of that,” Conway said. Asked if Trump has watched the video of Blake’s shooting, she replied, “I don’t know.”